‘Acquatopia’ Paints with All the Colors of the Wind

Medium and form collide in Spanish artist Cristina Gamón’s first solo exhibit in Asia.

by Emil Hofileña

Ancestral Coral

 

The relationship between an artwork’s medium and an artwork’s form is one of symbiosis. A dialogue develops between the two elements: the medium simultaneously informs and seeks to fill its spatial boundaries, while the form gives shape to the medium, dictating where viewers might be able to place their focus. Spanish artist Cristina Gamón is clearly aware of this symbiosis, and makes the relationship clear through Acquatopia, her first solo exhibition in Asia. The exhibit is comprised of a dozen paintings, a series of plexiglass sculptures, and two video installations. All of them take their cue from the environment, displaying the fluid tension between motion and stillness, and exploring how topographies may be inextricably linked to the very molecules that make up all of nature.

 

Hidden Treasures

 

This is most evident in Gamón’s vibrant acrylic on acrylic paintings. At first the works appear accidental, like inkblots simply allowed to mix and spread across the canvas. But a closer look reveals a surprising level of texture to each painting. Gamón’s works have an understated dimensionality, which she achieves by layering colors atop one another, blurring some together and adding weight and shadow when necessary. The results resemble everything from natural phenomena (“Deep Blue Lava,” “Ancestral Coral”) to cosmic occurrences (“Engkanto,” “Tropical Snow I-II”).

 

Gamón’s secret weapon, however, is in her manipulation of form. She uses several sheets of acrylic glass for each painting and occasionally carves holes through the top layer to heighten the sense of depth. She also isn’t afraid to expose the frames propping up her work. Seen most clearly in “North Wind (Amihan),” the crossbeams in the background help focus the piece and give off the illusion of light emanating from the center. This unity between medium and form makes Acquatopia feel active and alive.

 

L-R: Tropical Snow, Deep Blue Lava, Amihan

 

The rest of Gamón’s exhibit also displays the same principles seen in her paintings. Fatto D’Arquimia, Volum Series, four plexiglass pyramids filled with pure color pigments, resemble cross-sections of the Earth. The powder inside each pyramid has naturally been broken up into chunks—showing that the medium can still resist a predetermined form. And Gamón’s video installations (“Latitude Amber” and “Cerulean Blue Longitude”) juxtapose footage of her paintings submerged in water with footage of real bodies of water. Here, Gamón seems to acknowledge the limits of her own practice: her works will never attain that exact appearance of motion. But at least she can capture specific moments and phenomena frozen in time—a reminder of just how much beauty we are surrounded by.

 

Acquatopia is on display at Galerie Stephanie, Shangri-la Plaza until April 18.